‘Batman Beyond: Industrial Revolution’ Graphic Novel Review

The first part of 2012 seems to be the time DC Comics is using to wrap up all their loose ends and pre-New 52 books by putting out the last volumes of their titles in graphic novel collections. As goes the saying, “Out with the old and in with the new.” One of their latest collections is entitled “Batman Beyond: Industrial Revolution.” It includes all eight issues of volume four of the future Batman’s adventures. There are two story arcs and two single issue stories featured in it.

The first story arc, “The Heart of the Matter” has the Batman of the future teaming up with the Justice League of the future to save the hostages of a dangerous meta-human who are trapped inside a mall. The second story arc, “Industrial Revolution,” has Batman and Bruce Wayne coming up against Derek Powers/Blight to save both New Gotham and the former Wayne Enterprises.

“Legends of the Dark Knight: Max” features Terry McGinnis donning the costume of Nightwing to clear suspicions of Dick Grayson being the superhero. It also has a side story about Batman’s assistant, Max. “Legends of the Dark Knight: Inque” tells the backstory of the intriguing super-villain from her point of view.

Writer Adam Beechen (“Countdown to Final Crisis”) takes the excellent atmosphere from the original animated television series and breathes new life into it. He comes up with great new stories using all the familiar characters fans of “Batman Beyond” have grown to love.

He also knows how to generate excitement and keep a good balance of new material and the familiar within the two story arcs he writes. In “The Heart of the Matter,” he introduces a new version of Matter Master. “Industrial Revolution” re-visits the battle between Batman, Bruce Wayne, and Derek Powers/Blight, giving readers a sense of continuity. “Legends of the Dark Knight: Inque” features the infamous character from the TV series. In “Legends of the Dark Knight: Max,” he introduces the villainous corporation Undercloud.

The penciling on the two story arcs is performed by Ryan Benjamin (“Batman”). He takes the familiar look and surroundings from the TV series and successfully adapts them to the panels of the printed page. The characters all look a bit more realistic but don’t veer from the concepts of the show. His illustrations do contain some hints at anime. The coloring by David Baron (“JLA”) captures all the striking shades and hues from the series as well. The combination of Benjamin’s penciling, John Stanisci’s (“JSA: They Kingdom Come”) inking, and Baron’s coloring just shines and provides fans with an excellent reading experience.

“Legends of the Dark Knight: Max” is penciled by Eduarda Pansica (“Nightwing”) and inked by Eber Ferreira (“Aquaman”). “Legends of the Dark Knight: Inque” is penciled by Chris Batista (“Booster Gold”) and inked by Rich Perrota (“The Ray”). These both match up well with the two story arcs in appearance.

“Batman Beyond: Industrial Revolution” is a great addition to any fan’s library who enjoys the Dark Knight of the future. There’s plenty of action and good storylines. The art is first class and eye-catching. All in all, this fourth volume of “Batman Beyond” is worth picking up. I can’t wait for the fifth volume coming in a month, drawn by veteran Batman artist Norm Breyfogle. Hopefully, the new series will delve a little deeper into the Undercloud plotline which was left open-ended in this book.

For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:

‘All-Star Western #6′ 5-Page Sneak Preview
‘Batman: The Dark Knight, Volume 1: Golden Dawn: Deluxe Edition’ Review
‘American Vampire Volume 3′ Graphic Novel Review

Eric Shirey is the founder and editor of Rondo Award nominated movie and comic book news websites MovieGeekFeed.com and TheSpectralRealm.com. His work has been featured on Yahoo!, DC Comics, StarWars.com, and other national entertainment websites. Besides his three decades long obsession with everything sci-fi, horror, and fantasy related in TV and movies, Eric has what some would call an unhealthy love for comic books. This has led him to interviewing and covering legendary writers and artists in the medium like Geoff Johns, Scott Snyder, Steve Niles, Bernie Wrightson, and Howard Chaykin.

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